A foreigner of unknown nationality was arrested for carrying an expired passport when more than 100 Pattaya police officers raided several popular nightclubs on Walking Street late Monday night.
The raids targeting foreigners were part of an ongoing nationwide immigration crackdown on foreign criminals and fugitives and tourists who have overstayed their visa.
The Bangkok Post reports in more detail:
The sweep targeting foreigners was extremely unusual, especially given the timing a week before Christmas. During previous raids, foreigners were ushered out while authorities checked and drug tested Thais and immigrant workers.
This morning, however, officers stormed nightspots, including the Sensations coyote bar and 808 disco, finding many tourists not carrying their passports as legally required. Anyone unable to produce their immigration paperwork was taken to Pattaya police station for questioning.
The regular fine for not carrying one’s passport or other valid form of identification is 1,000 Baht. As far as we’re aware, a photocopy of one’s passport and the relevant visa pages, or a Thai driving licence are also acceptable.
Only on Monday, Thai immigration announced in a press conference they had recently nabbed 108 foreigners for overstaying their visa in the kingdom. These included a high-profile Russian fugitive.
Immigration police also reconfirmed that starting from March 2016, foreigners found to have “overstayed” their visa may face a re-entry ban of one to 10 years. It seems like they mean business this time.
In related news, the government has also announced a nationwide crackdown on drunk driving over the New Year’s holiday period, so you better be prepared for an increased number of DUI checkpoints also in Pattaya.